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Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 19:55:58 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: The Hamaker Hypothesis (1 of 7)

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               What is Going on with the Climate?


                        Gregory Alexander

                          July 20, 1990

What is  going on with the climate?  We saw swarms of tornados in
the Midwest  last Spring,  more than  I  have  ever  seen  in  my
lifetime.   What about  those 100  mph wind storms in Europe last
winter?   They did  a billion  dollars worth  of  damage  to  the
infrastructure.   I have  never heard of such a thing.  Have you?
Remember Hurricane  Gilbert last  year.   Those 200 mph winds set
another record.   In  the last  10 years,  we have  seen  climate
records broken  all over the world:  record heat, record drought,
record cold,  record floods.   What  gives?   It  does  not  seem
possible that  the weather  can be  going in  so  many  different
directions at  the same time.  We hear a great deal of talk about
the Greenhouse  Effect.   Some experts  say yes,  such as  NASA's
James Hansen.   Other  experts say  no, such  as Sherwood Idso of
USDA.   Is there any hope of sorting out this climate crisis when
the experts themselves are confused?

Thanks to  Don Weaver  and Larry  Ephron at  People for  a Future
(415-524-2700), we  now have  the means to understand the current
climate crisis.   They  have produced an excellent videotape that
explains how  and why  the climate  has become  so very unstable.
Incidentally, this  is not  the first  time in the history of the
world that  there has  been severe, rapid and catastrophic change
in world  weather patterns.   Pollen analysis of ancient lake bed
deposits by  Genevieve Woillard  (Nature, 281,  Oct. 18) makes it
clear that the onset of an ice age can be very abrupt:  less than
100 years and maybe as short as 25 years.

Understanding this  change  is  a  challenge.    A  psychological
problem arises  from that  fact that climate change is enormously
out-of-scale, in  both space  and time, for the normal human mind
to comprehend.   The  last ice  age in  geological history (about
10,000 years  ago) is  something too remote to be relevant in our
post-nuclear, Perestroika  age of  political upheaval.    On  the
other hand,  one might  ask, is there some reason why Perestroika
is occurring now, along with the wacky weather?

Even though  we remain  unsure to what extent human events change
the weather, the weather certainly does change human events.  Has
a blizzard  ever ruined your winter ski trip?  Has a drought ever
halted your farm income.  Has a tornado ever wiped out your town?
Has a  hurricane ever  forced you  to evacuate your home? Even if
you are  not a  serious  student  of  geology,  some  things  are
certain:   there have been earthquakes in the past and there will
be earthquakes in the future.  Likewise, there have been ice ages
in the  past, and  there will  be ice  ages in  the future.   The
problem is that the future is now.

Even though  the geological  evidence for  the ice  ages has been
with us  for a  long time,  many of  the great  minds of European
science were  unable to  explain the  reason  for  their  regular
occurrence.   They examined  the rocks  and fossils.   They noted
that the  ice ages  occurred at  regular intervals  lasting about
90,000 years,  whereas   the warm,  inter-glacial periods  lasted
only 10,000  years.   From a geological point of view, an ice age
is the  "normal" state  of  the  Earth,  compared  to  relatively
"short" inter-glacial period.

These many  great scientific minds, however, never identified the
true cause  of the  ice ages.   Until  1982, no  scientist had  a
theory that  could explain  both the beginning and the end of the
ice ages.  What modern scientist has the long-term global view of
climate change?  A climatologist, a geologist, a meteorologist, a
glaciologist?   Our situation  is similar to the situation of the
four blind  Hindus.  One Hindu holds the tail of the elephant and
says that  it is  a rope.   One  Hindu runs  into the side of the
elephant and  says that  he has  hit a wall.  One Hindu stubs his
toe and says that it is most definitely a tree.  The fourth Hindu
grabs the  trunk and  says he has found a hose.  Whom to believe?
Obviously, no one.

Enter John  Hamaker, a retired mechanical engineer, known for his
multi-disciplinary approaches to solving problems.  Hamaker cured
himself of  a number  of degenerative  diseases by  using  fresh,
organic vegetables.  This experience led him to study agriculture
and soil science.  In 1983, Hamaker came upon a small book, Bread
from Stones,  published by  a German named Julius Hensel.  Hensel
found that  grinding a  wide variety  of stones  to a powder, and
adding this  powder to  the soil  with organic  compost, produced
dramatic crop yields and very hearty plants.

I have  replicated this  finding in my home garden.  The longer I
use mixed  rock dust,  the better  the soil  and the stronger the
plants.   I have  waited two  years to  write this, to be sure of
myself.   Two citrus  trees, stunted to thumb-sized nubs during a
week of  winter frost  in 1988,  are now  4 feet  high with thick
growth.  Is this even possible without chemical fertilizers?  The
answer is  found in  the soil  microbes.   Micro-organisms in the
soil feed  on the small mineral particles of the weathered rocks,
and the  trees feed  on the  microbes  in  the  soil.  Thus,  the
microbes feed the trees.

I have  grown healthy plants in a pan of soil.  Then I sterilized
the soil  by heating it to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
After allowing  the soil  to cool,  I  replanted  the  soil  with
seedlings.    Although they were carefully watered, the seedlings
remained stunted  and  eventually  died.    Chemical  fertilizers
provide only  a few  mineral supplements  in pre-digested form to
plants.   Dust, ground from a wide variety of rocks, provides all
the minerals that promote an abundance of micro-organisms to feed
plant life.   Using  fertilizers on  your  trees  is  similar  to
feeding pabulum  and steroids  to your  children.   The result in
both cases is not bigger and stronger, but bigger and weaker.

The healthful  effects of mixed rock dust were rediscovered quite
accidentally in  Austria some  years ago.  When engineers built a
highway bridge  over a  gorge in  the Austrian forest, their work
resulted in  dusting the  trees below  with mixed gravel dust.  A
year later,  the trees  below the bridge were lush and hearty  --
a mystery to some, but not John Hamaker.

As far  as we  know, John  Hamaker was  the first to discover the
interrelationship of  the soil,  the trees, and the climate. What
precisely is  his theory?  Briefly, the trees are responsible for
inhaling carbon dioxide from the air and combining it with water,
during  the   daylight  process  of  photosynthesis,  to  produce
carbohydrates:   food, fuel, and building materials.  Wood, peat,
coal, and  oil all  keep enormous  amounts of  carbon out  of the
atmosphere, and  their production  by trees during photosynthesis
releases back  to the  atmosphere something very useful to animal
life  --  oxygen!

The plants have made it possible for us to be here.  If we do not
improve the  quality of life for trees on the planet, it will not
be possible for us to live here either.  On the other hand, if we
reforest and  spread pulverized  rock dust on soils of old growth
trees, new  growth trees,  and agricultural crops, we will become
smarter and  stronger, eat  better quality  food and  breath more

And what  about the Greenhouse Effect?  Larry Ephron has made the
following contributions to this debate:

     How long  will it  take to  reduce atmospheric  CO2 from its
     current 355 parts per million to a safe level of 270 ppm?

     1 ppm of atmospheric CO2 = 2.13 gigatons (Gt) of carbon
     (1 gigaton = 1 billion tons)
     355 - 270 = 85 ppm  x  2.13  =  181 Gt carbon we must remove

     Reducing Fossil Fuel Burning:

     This would  not remove carbon from the atmosphere, only slow
     the rate  at which  it continues  to increase.   With  great
     motivation, we could reduce fossil fuel burning 50% within 5
     years, which  would slow the increase by 2.5 Gt carbon/year.
     As it is phased in, however, it would reduce the increase by
     an average of only 1.25 Gt carbon/year.

     Stopping Deforestation:

     This would not remove carbon either, only slow its increase.
     George Woodwell  of the Woods Hole Research Center estimates
     that stopping  deforestation would  reduce the increase by 1
     to 4  Gt of carbon per year.  We can conservatively estimate
     the benefits  of stopping  deforestation at  about 2.5 Gt of


     This would  remove carbon from the atmosphere, by storing it
     in the  fibers of new trees.  Roger Sedjo, a forestry expert
     at Resources  for the  Future, has  estimated that  planting
     fast-growing trees  worldwide on  an area  the size  of  the
     United States  would remove  the equivalent  of all  the CO2
     currently being  produced by  both fossil  fuel burning  and
     deforestation, or about 7.5 Gt of carbon/year.

     Remineralizing Forests:

     Research shows  that remineralizing forest soils with finely
     ground mixed  rock dust is likely, on average, to double the
     growth rate  of trees  and their  consumption of atmospheric
     carbon.  Reminerlizing newly planted forests of fast-growing
     trees  is   likely  to   remove  an  additional  7.5  Gt  of
     carbon/year from the atmosphere.

     Existing  forests   currently  process   about  100   Gt  of
     carbon/year. By increasing their growth rate, remineralizing
     only one-fourth  of existing  forests is likely to remove at
     least an additional 25 Gt of carbon/year.

     Remineralizing Phytoplankton:

     John Martin  at Moss  Landing Marine Laboratories identifies
     ocean  areas   where  upwelling  provides  an  abundance  of
     nutrients and  the growth  of phytoplankton  is limited by a
     scarcity of iron (and perhaps other minerals).  He estimates
     that remineralizing  these areas  (only 18%  of  the  global
     oceans) with  finely ground  iron ore would rapidly increase
     phytoplankton  growth   and  thus   remove  about  4  Gt  of


     The total  of all  these means  of removing  carbon from the
     atmosphere is  44 Gt  of carbon/year.   That  means we could
     remove the  181 Gt  of excess  carbon within only 4.1 years.
     But if  we do  not accomplish  the difficult jobs of halving
     fossil fuel  burning and stopping deforestation, atmospheric
     carbon would  still increase  during those  4.1 years by 7.5
     Gt/year, or  another 30.7 Gt.  So, we would not catch up and
     remove all  the excess  carbon  in  less  than  five  years.
     Reforestation and  remineralization are  relatively easy and
     painless.   But if we hesitate now, our greatest efforts may
     soon be too late.

Now, finally,  the weather is beginning to make sense.  The soil,
the trees, and the atmosphere are an integrated whole.  We are no
longer blind  followers of  blind experts.    Even  if  political
leaders, almost  all of  whom know  less  about  agriculture  and
forestry than you do now, continue to perpetrate confusion around
the Greenhouse  Effect, we  know what to do:  reforest and spread
rock dust.

And what if we continue our folly?  What if we continue to permit
our forests  to burn  and die?   What  if we  continue to  poison
ourselves  and  our  soil  with  chemical  fertilizers  and  ever
stronger pesticides?   We will become weaker and more addicted to
drugs and  junk food,  as we  try in  vain to make ourselves feel
good as we degenerate into various disease states.

What will happen to the earth's atmosphere?  The Greehouse Effect
occurs mainly in the tropics, just as Hamaker predicted.  Greater
heat trapping  evaporates more water, which circulates toward the
North and  South Poles,  resulting in  more clouds, more snow and
colder polar  temperatures.   The earth,  as a  physical  system,
maintains thermodynamic  equilibrium:   if the  equator heats up,
the poles will cool off.

Don't take my word for it.  Ask biologist Robert Jeffries who has
been observing  the Canadian  Snow Geese.  From 1975 to 1990, the
spring snow melt line of their habitat has moved 150 miles south.
Now, all  the migrating birds are competing over the same norther
habitat  --  a narrow band moving steadily South.

People are  going to  move south,  too.   The average snowfall in
Valdez, Alaska  has increased  from 300  inches in  the last  few
years to  500 inches.  As the temperature differences between the
poles and  the equatorial  zone increase,  violent weather fronts
will move  faster and  more frequently from North to South.  Life
in the  so-called "temperate  zone", where  most of  us live,  is
going to  be as  much fun  as jogging  back and  forth across the
freeway during rush hour, with kids and groceries in tow.

The weather  is already getting very nasty.  As any meteorologist
can tell you, wide temperature differences on a continental scale
mean violent  weather   --   tornadoes over land, hurricanes over
water.   What is  the sense of debating whether the average world
temperature has  gone up or down a half a degree, when anyone can
see the increasing violence of the weather?

We see  in the  United States,  with alarming frequency, that our
own food  crops cannot  be protected  from hail, floods, drought,
early frost,  late frost, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  The drought
that knocked  out the  Southeast crops  in 1988  illustrates  the
pattern of  heating near  the Equator.   To  the North, political
upheaval in  the Soviet  Union is  caused, in  part, by  economic
competition  between   producing  and   consuming  areas.     The
inefficient system  of centralized  bureaucratic distribution  is
being dismantled  because there is not enough food to distribute.
As we  enter an  era of  massive demineralized forest burning and
crop failures, the Soviets, who are almost entirely farther North
than our Canadian border, have already entered the Ice Age.

NO political system can expect to survive if it does not adapt at
once to  the natural  requirements of  soil remineralization  and
reforestation.   The monies  spent on  a few bombers, an aircraft
carrier, and a nuclear power plant, could easily do the job.

                             #  #  #

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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